What are the Differences Between a Condo and an Apartment?

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Updated July 13, 2020
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The first major difference between a condo and an apartment is that a condo is generally owned by the separate individuals within the building, while an apartment is a part of a complex often owned by a property management company. Condo owners may have once lived in an apartment and found that it fits their lifestyle more than buying a house. So, they purchase a condo that gives them the benefits of owning property, without a lot of the extra maintenance that comes with owning a house.

What Benefits Come Along With Owning a Condo?

The benefits of owning a condominium include gaining some equity, having more ability to paint or design the space how you like, and you have a sense of community among your neighbors and homeowners association. Owning a condo gets you out of that renting stage, and might make you feel more responsible. Owning a condo is like taking one step up from renting your last apartment.

And of course, there’s no more throwing your money away on rent — you are actually contributing to a mortgage and towards building credit and assets. Plus, whether you are buying or renting a condo the price difference compared to an apartment is not much — yet you get so much more out of it.

Owning a condo is great because you don’t have to mow the lawn or worry about any other maintenance! Of course, this is due to the homeowners association, or HOA, which is very much a perk of owning or renting a condo but can definitely come with its downside as well.

HOA fees cover basic things like maintenance of common areas such as the lawn, hallways, lobbies, etc. It may also cover some utilities like sewer, water, and waste removal, depending on where you live. They also handle any neighborly disputes like noise complaints and people who don’t pick up after their animals — score!

What Are the Downfalls of Owning a Condo?

Though the HOA fees can come in quite handy, and ensure you don’t have to worry about yard work or maintenance, they can also be quite costly, and you can get locked into HOA contracts without wanting to be. One thing HOA’s can do is set the standard for your condo and the building, which isn’t always a good thing. Though some homeowner’s associations are flexible with paint colors, parking rules, and other things that affect everything in the building, some can be real sticklers.

We said a pro of the HOA was handling neighborly disputes, which brings us to our next point: having neighbors. There’s one thing to have next-door neighbors in your house, but quite another to have neighbors who share walls and common areas with you. And having neighbors is sometimes a double-edged sword, as well as being a game of chance when it comes to getting good or bad neighbors.

We’ve probably all experienced having a neighbor who gets under our skin, and if they end up being your neighbor down the hall, that can be quite a nuisance. Essentially, being unable to control what others do can be difficult, especially when you pay a mortgage in a place and expect the same respect you give to others.

Continuing on the cons of HOA fees, they can actually lead to a foreclosure if you cannot afford the payments, which often climb each year to cover the changing costs of maintenance fees and things like that. When purchasing a condo it is absolutely crucial to consider the HOA fees in your budget when you are planning for your mortgage and getting approved for loans. Nobody wants to be condo-poor, and it can all be for nothing if the fees end up costing too much for little reward.

difference between a condo and an apartment

What are the Pros and Cons of Living in an Apartment?

Renting an apartment is one of the easiest, more stress-free ways of living in our opinion. There is no yard work or maintenance and no added fees! For the most part, there are no surprises! A major difference between a condo and an apartment is you generally rent the apartment, but you still get a lot of amazing amenities along with your rental payment.

Pros of Living in an Apartment

Pros of apartments include worry-free maintenance, affordable rent, and great amenities. Many people move into apartments when they’re younger because they don’t have the down payment for a house yet, and want to save up. Or they are just starting their career and are unsure of where they may end up in the future. Apartments are temporary for some, but for others, it’s just a preference, and the added amenities make for the perfect living situation for their lifestyle.

The amenities offered by apartments are often things you will never find in your average home as a first time homebuyer. Your rent can cover day to day maintenance and convenient concierge services. You may also find such amenities as a full indoor gym, convenience store, and indoor or outdoor pool. You basically never have to leave! And you also never have to mow the lawn. That sounds like a win-win.

Cons of Living in an Apartment

Some cons about living in apartments may be having a lot of neighbors, not having control over painting or other interior design changes, and being stuck in a lease. Leases are intended to keep a consistent tenancy, which is good for the property management company. But some people who need to break leases early for whatever reason may have to jump through some major hoops and in that case, maybe living within the constraints of a lease isn’t for them.

At Bigos, we use our experience in real estate development and property management to change the rental property landscape. Our rental properties are designed just for you, inspired by your lifestyles and needs living in and around the Twin Cities. We want to make finding your home as easy as possible, whether you’re staying with us for the long haul or not. We have amenities and lease agreements catered just to you, so call us today to get started at 763 -367-7400.

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